Sports Are Life

The challenges student athletes go through.

Sports Are Life

Parker Henes, Sports Editor

What do full time working students and full time student athletes have in common? They never have enough hours and are almost always broke.

Sure, athletes have the enjoyment of playing in front of people and being a part of something bigger than themselves. They also have a chance to build relationships with all types of people.

Take it from me. I played all fours years as a loyal IU Southeast Grenadier on the men’s basketball team. Before then, I played one year in high school.

But being involved in a college or high school sport is hard not just physically and mentally, but financially too.

Let’s take a chapter out of my book. I was broke before college,  but mixing in basketball made it ten times worse.

I mean yes, I did get money from the athletic departament for playing basketball and it helped, but it wasn’t nearly enough to live off of.

As a NAIA Division II university, IU Southeast doesn’t have big scholarships like division one NAIA universities, and they don’t hold a candle to the NCAA universities.

Think about it. University of Louisville spreads 10,028,722 millions dollars of scholarship money to their 624 athletes. IU Southeast’s student athletic budget was a whooping 143,750. They still have to spread it evenly between the 104 student athletes.

Every student athlete is getting a little bit of money, but some don’t.

However, there are ways to have money before going into your season.

For me, it was working as much as I could during the summer. Two of my summers consisted of working two jobs, on top of still training for the upcoming basketball season.

The money that I got from working went my to rent. The rest of the money was for me to live. That and for gas to get back and forth to IUS for classes and practice.

Let’s just say that money didn’t last me long. Money is important to everyone, but it can be even more important to college athletes.

Money wasn’t the only challenge student athletes face. Challenge number two is time management.

It is hard to be a college athlete at a NAIA school like IU Southeast like IU Southeast. You constantly have to balance time for all things related to the sport, whether it is mentally preparing yourself for the next game or thinking about what you are going to be eating after an intense three and a half hour long Wiley Brown practice.

According to the NAIA rule book, and from Athletic Director Joe Glover, to be a student athlete, you have to attend the university full time, which is at least 12 credit hours.

Let’s do a little math. Add the hours you spend going to school a week. 12 credit hours is usually four classes. This equals 12 hours spent on going to class a week. Now add 30 more hours spent studying for these classes. This alone is roughly 45 hours out of the 168 hours that are in a week.

Now that we have all the hours accounted for the first full time job, we can add in the hours spent in the gym.

Just like every organized sport, you practice everyday. The most popular time for the IU Southeast men’s basketball team was the after 6 p.m. classes. These practices would differ throughout the week, depending on how the season was going at the time.

Practicing everyday, including the weekends, with practices being two and a half hour long, would total to roughly 18 hours a week.

As an athlete, when you are not practicing or playing in games, you are in the gym trying to improve your game. Back when I was on the basketball team, we had individual workouts and weightlifting with Brown.   

Our total number of hours is rising to 62.

Just to add a little bit more to the pot, student athletes also have to make time for their games, especially the road games. IU Southeast teams travel to their games by bus, which pretty much knocks out a whole day.

Some teams play more than one game in a week.

Lastly,  like every other human on the planet, you need sleep. Not having enough sleep could really put a student athlete in a bad spot.

At this point in my math problem, I am too overwhelmed by all the mathematics. There is a reason I majored in Journalism.

My point is that being a full time athlete takes the place of an income a person could get from a job, something a regular student doesn’t have to go through.

So how do student athletes survive as  poor college students without any type of income?

Student athletes do get help from the university’s athletic budget, which is shared with all the sports IU Southeast offers. In my four years as a Grenadier, I received a total of one thousand dollars.

Can a human actually live off that for four years?

Student athletes have a window of 10 to 15 hours of free time to work and gain money. At nine dollars an hour, this is only one hundred dollars a week. The last time I checked, that is a very difficult to live on.

Even if these athletes pick up a job to fill in those free hours, it will soon catch up to them.

Days will start to blend together. You start seeing multiple balls while on the court. Something will end up being the lowest priority.

While being active, you don’t want your mind or your body to go numb. If you end up losing both mind and body, you could end up hurt, either physically or in the classroom.

You keep your body in shape by working hard during your offseason. In my case, it was during the summer. My first three years I didn’t work at all.

However, at the start of my senior season, I decided I was no longer going to live with my mother. This was a mistake. I moved in with a few buddies and got ready for the next chapter of my life.

I had a choice to make before that move. Do I train my body with constant work in the gym, or work so I have enough money to make it through the next season?

Let’s just say that semester was the most broke I have ever been.

The next thing to go is your mind.

If there are too many things that are going on, your mind could become weak. Being up all those hours straight can put a toll on your mind.

For example, I decided to pick up a job. I worked third shift as a security guard at Wick’s Pizza in New Albany.

This was a bad idea.

If it doesn’t damage your play on the court, then it will hit you at your desk during class. Slowly your grades will drop, as mine did. There just isn’t enough hours in the day to succeed.

However, you will succeed. If there is one thing that my collegiate athletic career has taught me was, it’s that you have to keep moving forward even when you feel overwhelmed and broke.

As an athlete myself, I can say that I had some of the best times being a broke IU Southeast Grenadier. It was a struggle to to overcome all the challenges I faced while playing.

Being a Grenadier helped me manage my money and time, and even helps me be a better editor. So I guess being thrown to the wolves right out of high school has it’s advantages and disadvantage.